Monday, November 30, 2009

Feds Drop Suit Against Tim Durham's Assets


The Indy Star reports that the federal lawsuit against Tim Durham's assets (apparently first reported here after I received an e-mail from a trusted friend) has been dropped. According to the article, the lawsuit was dropped after the feds became confident the assets "would not be dissipated."

The plot thickens.

Photo courtesy of atgeist.com

Kennedy Shows Leadership on Smoking Ban Issue


You may or may not agree with her, but Melina Kennedy has made no bones about her position on the comprehensive air ordinance aka the Marion County workplace smoking ban that may or may not be voted on tomorrow evening at the City-County Council meeting downtown.

It took smoke-filled rooms and back door politics for Mayor Greg Ballard to communicate his position on the issue. According to Councillor Angela Mansfield, he repeatedly turned down opportunities to meet with the co-sponsors of the proposal. In a closed door meeting, Ballard finally communicated that to the Republican caucus that he would be vetoing the bill if it passed. Subtext was that a no vote would help the big guy save the trouble of utilizing that rarely used veto stamp in his office. This came after he apparently supported the ban in 2007 as candidate Greg Ballard.

Instead of using back door old political methods, Melina Kennedy penned a piece for the Indianapolis Star putting her position in writing in the state's most-read newspaper. Here is a link to the op-ed piece.

"I support the passage of the comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance before our City-County Council. In doing so, I understand the debate about undue interference from government in the lives of citizens. And I agree as a basic principle that just because something might be good or healthy for you doesn't mean the government should mandate that you do it.

However, that argument loses most of its force when the activity threatens the health of others, as in the case of secondhand smoke for patrons and workers in establishments where smoking is still permitted.

According to the American Cancer Society, every year secondhand smoke causes the lung cancer-related deaths of about 3,400 nonsmokers and 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections in children younger than 18 months, and increases the instance of pregnant women giving birth to low-weight babies. Moreover, according to the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report, scientific evidence proves there is absolutely no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure.

As for the proposed smoke-free ordinance, I believe there are three sound reasons to support its passage.

First, as a former deputy mayor for economic development, I have seen first hand how efforts aimed at making Indianapolis a healthier city help attract new businesses and new jobs to the city. Companies understand that a healthier city means lower health-care costs and less time away from work. Along with other quality-of-life initiatives, it also puts us on a list of increasingly progressive cities where talented people want to stay and work. Given this, it is easy to understand why many local businesses and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce support the ordinance. In a struggling economy, a proposal that will make Indianapolis a better competitor in the fight for jobs merits support.

Second, Indianapolis already took the interim step of passing a smoke-free ordinance with exceptions a few years ago. We should complete that journey. In fact, other Indiana cities have already gone further than Indianapolis. Indianapolis should lead our state, not follow.

And third, in a world where bitter partisanship increasingly seems sadly the norm, this ordinance has bipartisan council sponsorship from Republicans Ben Hunter and Barbara Malone and Democrats Jose Evans and Angela Mansfield. We should embrace the opportunity to work together and compromise on something that will move the city forward.

As parents, we should do what we can to offer our children and grandchildren a healthy city in which to grow up, be educated and work. I support a smoke-free Indianapolis, and I hope our council will too."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tim Russert's Spirt Still Inspires


The Newseum has a new exhibit taking the visitor inside the office of NBC's legendary moderator of Meet the Press, Tim Russert. Tim is a big time hero of mine, and I idolized his preparation ability and interviewing style. He made Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. a time I looked forward to each week.

On June 13, 2008, Russert passed away while preparing for that Sunday's edition of Meet the Press. It hasn't been quite the same since. David Gregory does a fine job, but it's just not Tim in that chair, and that's unfortunate.

Dying is part of living, and I was affected by Russert's death. He is one of the journalist inspirations that I'm sure led me to create this blog. I hope that in some small way that what I learned from watching Tim Russert all those years is alive and well on this blog. That his sense of fairness, his preparation, and his way of asking tough questions still lives on in a small way here. I hope that I, as a small-time blogger, live up to that high level example.

Here is an excellent presentation from the Newseum. I hope you enjoy. We still remember you, Tim.

I'm Not Saying...I'm Just Saying: Brizzi Absent from Crime Beat


Maybe he ate too much turkey or maybe something else happened, but Prosecutor Carl Brizzi was not present on his Crime Beat radio program on WIBC Saturday. Instead, someone guest hosted for Brizzi.

Of course, the current occupant of the Marion County Prosecutor's Office has had kind of a bad week with the revelation that he once sat on the board of Fair Financial, an Ohio company run by best buddy Tim Durham that was raided by the FBI on Tuesday.

I actually like Brizzi's radio show, and I find some of the content interesting. While I was out and about on Saturday afternoon, I tuned in to hear what the Prosecutor had to say, if anything, about his involvement with Durham. A few weeks back, he took a question on the show about the ethics complaint currently active against him for comments he had made about cases to media sources.

All of the other regular Saturday WIBC Republicans...er...radio hosts (amazing how Pat Sullivan and Dick Crum can be so political) were on the air. Brizzi was the lone absentee. Makes you wonder why this media hound and microphone junke would turn down an opportunity to host his own radio program, doesn't it? Hmmmmm...

The Durham Digest: What the Local Stations Are Reporting...


As the news of Tim Durham's potential troubles broke when his office was raided on Tuesday in Indianapolis and in Ohio, the local news stations have done an admirable job looking for various angles.

As a trusted friend reported to me in an e-mail, something was filed in U.S. Federal Court against Durham's Fortville home. Details of that lawsuit have been reported by all the stations. Channel 13's Rich Van Wyk has the story about the case here.

Channel 8 dug up this 2004 video on Durham's lavish excesses.

Channel 6 is on another story tying Durham to a police scandal in Henry County. The always hardworking Rafael Sanchez has the report here.

Channel 6 also reports on Durham's money connections to local politicians. Fox 59 did a similar story here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

In My Inbox: Interesting Developments In Durham Case

From a trusted friend:
"I did a google search on Mr. Durham's home address at 14353 East 113th Street, Fortville, and found a forfeiture action filed on November 24, 2009 by the United States of America against that real estate. I suspect that the lawsuit will reveal some more about what is going on with Mr Durham."

That's the latest! Thanks for the tip!

Former Bush Press Secretary Perino Forgets 9/11 Attacks Happened Under Bush

Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino appeared on Hannity earlier this week and took President Obama and his administration to task about not calling the Fort Hood tragedy a terrorist attack. That's fine. She's free to express her opinion even though we don't know all the facts.

In the process of making what she called a non-political point, Perino uncorked a big fat lie, and Sean Hannity let her get away with it.



This former member of the Bush Administration did not become Press Secretary until after the untimely and tragic death of Tony Snow, but she was certainly alive on 9/11/01 which came after 1/20/01, the day W. took office, which began eight months of President Bush rolling back the work that the two previous administrations had done on terror with Richard Clarke.

Perino has yet to explain her comments, but she dishonors the memory of those that died at the hands of terrorists on 9/11/01 by her blatant disregard for fact. It may be true that the Fort Hood shooter was a terrorist, but we just don't know all the facts yet. We do know what happened on 9/11...all except for Dana Perino.

Even bigger than her lie is that "journalist" Sean Hannity let her get away with it. Even a basic level interviewer is taught to listen to his or her subject and always be ready with a follow-up. The follow-up could have been a simple reminder, "What about 9/11?" That would have forced Perino to answer and address her comments.

Instead, they both come off looking like idiots. And people still think Fox News is really a news network? GEEZ.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks!



To all my loyal readers and friends:
On this holiday, thanks so much for your support and readership of this blog. Thanks also for your friendship! I wish you all nothing but the best on this Thanksgiving Day.

ENJOY GREAT TIMES WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Carl Brizzi Had At Least Short Term Direct Connection to Fair Finance


The Indianapolis Star reports that Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi was briefly a board member for Fair Financial, an Ohio company raided by the FBI yesterday. The company was run by Brizzi campaign contributor and longtime friend Timothy Durham.

The Star article is here.

Brizzi has accepted $160K in campaign contributions from Durham, according to Indianapolis Monthly Magazine. Will Brizzi at least follow the lead of former Marion County Sheriff candidate Tim Motsinger and return the money donated to his campaign by Durham? Will Governor Daniels? Will Congressman Baron Hill? Anyone else? They've all gotten thousands in campaign dough from him.

Motsinger Ends Sheriff Campaign


On his campaign website, Tim Motsinger announces that he is pulling the plug on his run for the Republican nomination for Marion County Sheriff. His campaign finance chairman was Tim Durham, FYI.

Here is his statement from the website:
"In light of the recent investigations concerning the non-campaign related business affairs of my campaign finance chairman, I have made the decision that it is appropriate to return any and all financial contributions and loans that my campaign has received from him or his affiliated businesses. Unfortunately, this leaves my campaign in a non-competitive financial position. Therefore, it is with regret that I have decided to end my campaign for the office of Marion County Sheriff. I want to thank all the friends and loved ones that have supported my candidacy.

Tim"

Brian Williams Speaks On Involvement with Tim Durham

I sent Brian Williams a message last night via Facebook giving him the opportunity to provide more information regarding his involvement with Tim Durham and Obsidian Enterprises. Here is his response:

"I invested in Obsidian Enterprises. I never served in management or on the board. I was never involved in any way in Fair Finance.

When I realized Tim no longer was adhering to the stated purposes of Obsidian I parted ways with him which included litigation. Like many others I lost money."

It's All Fun and Games Until a Guy Kisses a Guy

Every once in a while, I take a break from politics for a little pop culture talk. Today is one of those days.

If you haven't heard by now, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert caused quite a stir with his performance at the American Music Awards. If you haven't seen the performance, Lambert danced around with sexy people of both genders. He laid a kiss on a female dancer and rubbed her seductively. Those things were fine. ABC and Dick Clark Productions decided to show all of that.

The problem came during two other points in Lambert's performance. Point one, Lambert took a male dancer's head and placed it in his crotch. The camera was immediately turned away from the scene. Point two, Lambert grabbed his keyboardist, another male, and placed a big kiss upon his lips (NY Daily News picture above). Of course, ABC was flooded with complaints and e-mails that this kind of thing always seems to attract nevermind that the kiss was aired on the same network that has brought you the Desperate Housewives, Wife Swap, Grey's Anatomy, and Dennis Franz's flabby butt on NYPD Blue. Shocking!

The performance itself was hardly his best, but Adam Lambert, who is openly gay, deserved better from ABC and from Dick Clark Productions as an artist. ABC canceled Lambert's appearance on Good Morning America citing fears that he might perform similarly to an a.m. audience. The ratings-starved Early Show on CBS immediately jumped to the plate realizing the ratings gold and booked Lambert to perform on its program. Lambert rightly points out that he did nothing in his performance that female artists such as Janet Jackson or Madonna haven't done in the past. In fact, Lambert pointed out that Janet grabbed her crotch in her performance earlier in the show.

ABC is well within its rights to do what it did. They have made a business decision to mitigate what they believe might be something that gets the network fined. The network, owned by Disney, airs Modern Family. That program features a gay couple that have adopted a young child. That shows that the network at least pays some attention to gay issues. So, they aren't really anti-gay. It's just that people don't necessarily want to be challenged by some things in their living rooms.

After the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl, networks have become ultra sensitive to these things. That doesn't change the fact that it seems to me to be a knee jerk reaction to an artist intending to express himself. Lambert's performance was hardly pornographic and hardly worse than anything seen in popular music videos.

There is such a disconnect in this country between sex and violence. There are countless shows on television today about crime, murder, death, and gore. Instead, we worry that our children might actually see Adam Lambert kiss a random male keyboard player because it challenges the convention of what many believe to be true and right and proper. Those conventions, frankly, stink. It's 2009. Time to grow up America, and ABC could have done a great service by standing by Lambert rather than running from him.

Adam Lambert's a great performer, but this one wasn't his best. If America were less knee jerk, the performance would have likely raised an eyebrow or two but likely would have been written off for its quality more than its content. By its own action, ABC created the controversy out of the original tempest in a teapot by canceling Lambert from his GMA appearance.

Honestly, if Adam Lambert had been Madonna and gave the same performance, would we even raise an eyebrow at this point? Doubtful. This country needs to get over its homophobia. The time is now! I condemn ABC's decision to cancel Lambert's GMA appearance. It's time to grow up and be adults here and treat artists equally without regard to gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Durham's Potential Troubles Could Spell Trouble for Local Pols


The Indianapolis Star, the IBJ as well as several other local news agencies are reporting that Obsidian Enterprises' offices on the top floor of the Chase Tower have been raided by the FBI this afternoon. Fox 59 further reports that CEO Tim Durham has been taken into custody or is talking to the FBI in Los Angeles. John Thompkins, Durham's attorney, disputes Fox 59's report and says that Durham is cooperating completely.

Details are sketchy, but the FBI doesn't just barge into someone's office with sealed search warrants for fun. There has been a lot of scrutiny turned Durham's way since the Indianapolis Business Journal published an expose piece on Fair Finance Company, an Ohio firm held as part of Durham's portfolio. Local bloggers Terry Burns of the Indianapolis Times Blog and Gary Welsh...yes Gary...credit where credit is due here...have been on the story.

The political implications will be major if Durham is convicted of anything. According to Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, Durham has given $50K to Governor Mitch Daniels' campaign and $160K to drinking buddy Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's campaign. Durham also has ties to Democratic Mayoral candidate Brian Williams who was a co-founder of Obsidian with Durham even touting his work with Durham on his personal website as an accomplishment. These folks aren't the only candidates with campaign money or other ties to Durham.

Campaignmoney.com says that Durham shelled out over 19K in donations last federal go-around in 2008. He gave $2,300 to Congressional candidate Jon Elrod, $4,600 to Congressman Baron Hill, $12,500 to the Indiana Republican Central Committee, and $2,300 to former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani. The same site says that he shelled out $3,794 to Richard Lugar in 2006. He also gave Baron Hill $1,000 more in 2004 along with $2,300 for the Bush-Cheney ticket and a whopping $22,500 for the Indiana Republican Central Committee. Brose McVey received $2,000 from Durham in his failed '02 bid to knock off Julia Carson, and the DNC took in $3,000 from Durham in 2000 with the RNC collecting $300 that same year from his bank account.

UPDATE: Add Republican Sheriff candidate Tim Motsinger to those with ties to Durham. This article from atgeist.com talks about Durham and Motsinger's longtime friendship. Motsinger's own website touts Durham as a supporter.

I'm not saying anything is necessarily untoward here. Politicians need money to run campaigns, and Durham has or had a lot of it. His influence in the form of campaign contributions stretch long and far. Motsinger and others now have some explaining to do, and, for most, it's likely not any fault of their own.

Chris Worden over at the IPOPA Blog weighs in with some more tale of the tape from Durham's political contributions.

Shuffled CIB, Ballard Deck Chairs and Hasn't Mitch Been Quiet?

Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times blog broke a couple of big stories yesterday. One involves some turnover at the CIB as Bob Grand is no longer the head of that organization. The other is that Paul Okeson is stepping down as Greg Ballard's Chief of Staff. Kudos to Scoop Burns!

Someone not making much news lately has been Governor Mitch Daniels. Since the state announced that revenue is diminishing at a very rapid pace and people begin to wonder if that $1 billion surplus Mitch pushed for still even exists, the Governor has decided to do something he rarely does...shut his mouth and stop looking for cameras. He did give a speech last weekend in front of the Indiana GOP dinner using part of it to backhandedly compliment Democratic Speaker of the Indiana House, Pat Bauer, but that's kind of an expectation.

The Star says the Governor is now out of state at the Republican Governor's meeting in Texas. The last appearance of the Guv's name on this blog was back on October 17 when Mighty Mitch opened his trap and inserted his foot after the Indiana Court of Appeals decision on the Voter I.D. Law. Heck, the November 22 article on Daniels was the search hit on Daniels since November 7 in the Indianapolis Star.

So, I've come up with a list of some things he might have been doing.

Figuring out new and interesting ways to stick it to public education.

Trying to come up with new campaign slogans for Presidential run in 2012...the winner, "The others Palin comparison to Mitch."

Spending time with family gathering maps of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida for fact-finding mission.

Working his part-time job, Vladimir Putin impersonator.

Searching couch cushions of official and unofficial Governor's Mansion for the $1 billion surplus he insisted the state maintain.

Standing by idly as jobs leave the state.

Working his part-time job, Napoleon impersonator.

Fielding prank calls from George W. Bush.

Figuring out new and interesting ways to stick it to union workers.

Making sure underlings Tony Bennett, Richard Mourdock, and Greg Zoeller have something to do.

Fielding prank calls from Mayor Greg Ballard.

Hiking the Appalachain Trail with Governor Mark Sanford.

Converting Becky Skillman's power source to solar and wind power.

Cooking a turkey bigger than himself for Thanksgiving.

Dancing a little sidestep.


Hey Mitch fans...he's your man whether I make fun of him or not.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

From the "You Got What You Voted For" Department


The FOP and the Firefighters Local 416 are likely filing grievances against the City of Indianapolis over a controversial health insurance change that is designed to save a buck or two. The Indianapolis Star details the dispute in this article from Saturday's newspaper.

Back in 2007, the FOP especially was vocal in its opposition of Mayor Bart Peterson's re-election while the firefighters union was behind the incumbent. The FOP actively campaigned against Peterson and for current Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. I know in my neighborhood alone that there still are "Had Enough" stickers on some of my neighbors cars that happen to be police officers.

Walking through the neighborhood I now call home with City-County Council candidate Steve Terrell, I can remember one house in particular that we visited where the homeowner (who was a police officer) wouldn't even talk to us when he found out we were Democrats. He pointed ominously to a a "no soliciting" sign on his front door.

Well, in this case, you got what you voted for. Mayor Ballard promised a lot of wonderful things to the FOP, and this is what you got. You may have to drop your spouse off your insurance because the mayor wants a fake balanced budget so he can get re-elected. Had enough?

Firefighters, it's ok to tell the FOP, "We told you so."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now The Real Debate Can Begin...


The Senate cleared the way for debate to begin on a health care bill tonight, 60-39. That means the 39 Republican Senators including Richard Lugar decided that this health care bill wasn't even worth a debate. Amazing.

Thanks to those Senators like Joe Lieberman that played the old rope a dope but in the end realized that the vote was only for the DEBATE to continue. The fireworks begin after Thanksgiving, but, it appears that the game has now gone into the 4th quarter in the fight to improve health care in the United States.

The Democrats lead, but the Republicans can still throw a couple of hail marys in there and scare off moderates like Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu and others. For passage, Harry Reid needs only a bare majority on the bill now instead of this filibuster vote junk. Make them pull a "Mr. Smith" Harry!

Remember the days of the good old filibuster?



Oh...the Senate is so much different now. Where is Jefferson Smith? If Republicans wanted to filibuster, that's the way to do it. I digress.

History is about to be made, and we all have a front row seat. Congratulations to Senator Reid and the Democratic Caucus also to President Obama who continues to keep the change meter on a slow simmer. It's coming though.

Saturday Humor: Past Meets President

Friday, November 20, 2009

Johnson Announces At-Large City-County Council Bid


Pike Township Board President Annette Johnson publicly announced that she's jumping into into the At-Large City-County Council race for 2011. I was unfortunately unable to attend the Washington Township Democratic Club meeting on Wednesday night, but a friend of mine that was there e-mailed me the information that she announced her candidacy at that meeting.

Johnson's potential candidacy raises the number of Democrats running for the four at-large positions to at least four right now though there may be others that I know nothing of just yet. That number of four includes the expected candidacy of current At-Large D, Joanne Sanders. The other two candidates that I have heard that are actively seeking the job are Zach Adamson and John Barth.

That field will definitely get more crowded as many rumors contine to flow about what other candidates may join the battle to for membership on the powerful local legislative body. Indiana Democratic African-American Caucus Indianapolis Chapter President Marshawn Wolley has been rumored as a candidate as well as some of the three former at-large seat holders. There will certainly be others joining the fray.

With Sanders being the only incumbent on the ticket, three slots will be open, and it will be interesting to see what happens at the February 2011 slating convention as well as behind closed doors. The Marion County Democratic Party could opt to do what it's done in the past with judge slots and actually create "seats" to protect Sanders' slot on the slate. A crowded field could also mean that Sanders name might end up at the bottom of the primary ballot depending on how many potential candidates detour around the slating process or blatantly violate the slating agreement.

I think it's unlikely, but it would be a shame to lose Sanders in a primary fight. I would hope that voters would recognize what a fine Democratic leader she has been on the City-County Council since becoming the Minority Leader in 2008. She's also been an extremely effective Councillor...just ask any neighborhood leader. That's why she maintained her position on the Council back in 2007 when other Democrats like Bart Peterson and the other three at-larges lost in the countywide fight.

The competition might also be fierce on the Republican side with some R's dissatisfied with some of their incumbent Councillors. Certainly, Ed Coleman and the Libertarian Party will bring out all the support they can to keep what the party calls one of the highest-ranking Libertarians in any U.S. public office on the City-County Council. Too bad he wasn't a Libertarian when elected, but I guess that detail means little to the Libertarians.

It's going to get interesting...and this is just 2009!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

AFSCME Local 1887 (Indy Parks) Union to Endorse Kennedy


A source close to Melina Kennedy sent me an e-mail today saying that the AFSCME Local 1887 (Indy Parks) is set to endorse Kennedy. Watch for an official announcement sometime in the next few days on this news.

The local chapter of the LIUNA and International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 18 have both previously endorsed the exploratory mayoral candidate. Kennedy's opponent for the Democratic nod, Brian Williams, has yet to announce any major endorsements from labor unions.

UPDATE:
Officially announced here.

Star Says NFL Probing Pats Security Chief Run-in with NBC Camera Operator


If you were watching the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots game on Sunday and stayed up until the end of it, you might have seen Patriots coach Bill Belichick do his quicker-than-quick handshake with Jim Caldwell and make a beeline for the locker room.

As the coach was leaving the field, NBC cameras were jockeying for position to get a good angle of him. One of those cameras was run by a man the Indianapolis Star identifies as Peter Stendel. As Stendel is getting into position, it appears he has trouble with his cabling and comes near the Patriots' Chief of Security Mark Briggs. Briggs puts his hand on Sendel and contributes to Sendel falling to the turf or pushes him down. The Indianapolis Star says that the NFL is investigating the incident following the Pats' 35-34 loss to Indy on Sunday.

Here is a YouTube video of what happened.


This doesn't appear to be the first incident for Briggs. From the Associated Press reported by ESPN on August 31:

WARWICK, R.I. -- A former Providence police officer is suing the New England Patriots after the team revoked his season tickets when his wife tried to auction their seats on eBay.


John Reis, 47, is an 18-year season ticket holder with three seats in the 34th row of Gillette Stadium at the 50-yard line.


Now he finds himself involved in two separate court actions with the team. He's suing the Patriots in federal court for the return of his tickets and damages, and has filed a criminal assault and battery complaint against Patriots security chief Mark Briggs.


''I was never late with a payment. The price went up more than 100 percent, and I didn't blink an eyelash,'' Reis told The Boston Globe.


Team spokesman Stacey James declined to comment on the lawsuit. Briggs' attorney, Daniel Goldberg, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.


Reis and his wife, Lisa, planned a vacation for their anniversary that would cause him to miss the Patriots' Oct. 13 home game against the Green Bay Packers.


At her brother's suggestion, Lisa Reis put the tickets up for sale on the online auction site eBay. When the bidding ended in early June, the high bid was $851, more than three times the face value for the three tickets.


The transaction was never completed, however, and the Reises never collected the money, according to their attorney, Sean McAteer.


Two days after the auction, Reis got a letter from Briggs and the Patriots saying that his season ticket privileges had been revoked because he'd violated a team policy banning the resale of tickets to a third party.


Reis says he called and wrote to Briggs, but the security director refused to back down. One secretary told Reis that he could go to the bottom of a waiting list -- behind 50,000 others.


Finally, Reis and McAteer were able to schedule a meeting with Briggs at the team's corporate offices in Foxboro, Mass.


Reis and McAteer say Briggs flew into a rage when he saw that Reis was accompanied by an attorney. He allegedly ripped Reis' shirt while tearing off his visitor badge and ordered the pair escorted from the building.


On the way home from that meeting, Reis, a former Providence police lieutenant who now works for the Rhode Island attorney general's office, blacked out and crashed his car on a Rte. 95 off-ramp. He spent two days in the hospital, where doctors diagnosed the blackout as a fainting spell induced by extreme stress.


On Tuesday, a clerk magistrate in Wrentham District Court found probable cause to proceed with the criminal assault complaint against Briggs.


At a hearing scheduled for next week in U.S. District Court, McAteer will ask a judge for a temporary injunction that would return Reis' seats to him in time for the Patriots' regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 9.


''There is nothing in the team rules that says anything about the attempted selling of tickets,'' McAteer said. ''There was no sale here.''


Nothing particular political here; it's just interesting what you can find on the internet. Oh yeah...and Bill Belichick is a Republican campaign contributor...Even more reason to dislike the coach.

Libertarians Knee Deep in Smoking Fight Again


Here we go again. The Libertarian Party has spent, at minimum, lots of man hours into getting the comprehensive air ordinance (public smoking ban) defeated at the City-County Council level when it comes to a vote November 30. On Tuesday, the LPMC Party Chair, Tim Maguire, in the words of the Indianapolis Star, "urged" Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to investigate Smoke Free Indy for critical comments against the LPMC on a blog connected somehow to the organization. The LPMC claims that since Smoke Free Indy receives money from the Marion County Health Department that it cannot launch "political attacks."

Here is the offending blog post in question.

"The Libertarian Party of Indiana violates its own stated principles articulated in its by-laws with its position opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace laws that protects all workers.

Check out this portion of the LPIN bylaws from the organization’s website below [the highlighting is my addition]:



http://www.lpin.org/node/57

Libertarian Party of Indiana -- By-Laws

ARTICLE II – STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES


Section 2. Principles. The LPIN affirms the following principles:

a. That all people possess certain unalienable natural rights, and that among these are rights to life, liberty, justly acquired property, and self-governance.

b. That the only moral basis of government is the preservation and protection of unalienable natural rights.

c. That no person or institution, public or private, has the right to initiate the use of physical force or fraud against another person, and that all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.

[Approved at State Convention May 1999; As Amended at State Convention April 2001; As Amended at State Convention April 2004; As Amended by Central Committee October 2005; As Amended at State Convention April 2006]


The Libertarian Party of Indiana chooses to defend the last two inalienable rights listed under Article II, Section 2 a—property rights and self-governance—at the expense of the first two inalienable rights –LIFE and LIBERTY. Secondhand smoke is a cause of death, and to defend the status quo where workers continue to health their health jeopardized by exposure to secondhand smoke, the LPIN threatens those workers’ rights to life and liberty. Not only is the health of workers seriously threatened by secondhand smoke [infringing on the inalienable right to life], but it also infringes on when secondhand smoke is present in the air because it takes away everyone’s liberty to breathe air free of secondhand smoke.

But really, the most egregious betrayal of the LPIN’s own principles and purpose by opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace laws is made clear in Article II, Section 2[c]. Libertarians say one key principle is that “all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.” Unfortunately, by opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinances, Indiana’s Libertarians were active parties to ensuring that some people will continue to infringe upon the natural rights of other people [continuing to smoke inside an enclosed workplace or enclosed public place and risking the life and liberty of those occupants].

Normally, I wouldn’t spend time analyzing the bylaws of a 2% fringe political party, but since they have inserted themselves so visibly and vocally into the dialogue about whether Indianapolis should protect all workers from a known and preventable occupational health risk, I thought it would be worthwhile to see what they’re supposed to be about. It looks like they’re about picking and choosing which inalienable natural rights they want to defend and which ones they think it’s okay to trample on."


This isn't a political attack; it's a political beat down. Game set and match Smoke Free Indy. The point has been made whether or not Carl Brizzi looks at the case. Libertarians have brought this on themselves.

The LPMC specifically is very involved in the fight. As previously discussed on this blog, the "Save Indianapolis Bars" group has a website at www.saveindianapolisbars.com. If you click on the link, it goes right to the Libertarian Party of Marion County's website where you can listen to the ads that have run on local radio under the heading "Listen to Our commercial."

Need more evidence? Brad Klopfenstein, a former Executive Director in the Libertarian Party, is referred to in media reports as the leader of Save Indianapolis Bars. From GoDaddy.com, the registration information for the saveindianapolisbars.com web address:

Registrant:
Libertarian Party of Marion County

133 W Market St #159
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: SAVEINDIANAPOLISBARS.COM
Created on: 12-Oct-09
Expires on: 12-Oct-10
Last Updated on: 12-Oct-09

Administrative Contact:
Schultheiss, Michael webmaster@indylp.org
Libertarian Party of Marion County
133 W Market St #159
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
United States
(317) 372-6436

Technical Contact:
Schultheiss, Michael webmaster@indylp.org
Libertarian Party of Marion County
133 W Market St #159
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
United States
(317) 372-6436


Chris Spangle, the current Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, denies any real involvement with Save Indianapolis Bars beyond helping them build a website (that happens to link back to the Libertarian Party of Marion County's site). I think the evidence proves that the Libs have more than just a passing involvement with the group. The party seems to be its biggest advocate.

I think Smoke Free Indy's criticism was right about the Libertarian Party's selective choosing of sides on this issue. Whether the organization goofed or not in its critical blog post is up to Carl Brizzi to figure out. The Libertarians definitely are not standing up for the rights of non-smokers and seem to only care about the smokers in violation of its own party rules and policies. It seems to me that this is more about opportunistic self promotion of the Libertarian Party than about a passionate defense of the rights of the people.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prosecutorial Pile-up: Bowes To Detour Around Slating-Part 2 of 2


(This is a continuation of yesterday's discussion of Greg Bowes' decision to detour around the slating process and continue directly to the May Primary Election...for more information please read Part I.)

So, now that you've heard the Bowes side of the issue, let's analyze what he's talking about.

I believe that Bowes has many valid points in his letter. He's right on many issues, and I could support some of what he's proposing. The sad thing is that despite his rational points; Bowes is going in a very irrational manner to make change and to gain support. Some would consider what he's doing political suicide.

You see, Bowes is correct. We elect far too few Precinct Committeepersons. There are examples across the county. Take my situation for example. When I moved, I moved across Thompson Road into a different precinct. I remain the PC in my old precinct where I was elected in 2006 because I can't find a replacement. It's not that we didn't look for replacements. I've been through the list of Democrats in the precinct as recently as a year ago, and there just isn't anyone willing to run right now. I don't intend to remain in the slot forever, but I'm still here for now.

In a perfect world, it would be the local Ward Chairs that appoint the Precinct Committeepeople in their individual wards with the absence of an elected PC. That happens here where I live in Decatur Township. Essentially, it's up to the basic unit of Democrats in each individual area to rise up and become that basic machinery of PCs, Vice PCs, Ward Chairs, and Vice Ward Chairs. If you get your house in order, you can avoid the "stuffing" phenomenon that Bowes spends time on in his letter altogether. In too many areas of this county, people don't stand up and get involved. Thus, the 260 that are elected and the rest that get appointed DO have the say about what happens at slating.

Still, anyone can stuff the precincts; it's not limited to the Marion County Party Chairman. In my experience, the Chairman seems to respect the wishes of the local area. There has been no litmous loyalty test that I know of for PCs in my ward. If, for example, Decatur Township has a number of PCs to appoint, the Chairman has not interfered with those appointments when local people have placed them in nomination...even when some of those appointments have disagreements with the Chairman!

Bowes had the same opportunity to recruit a group of loyal PCs and Vice PCs appointed or elected to the positions as Terry Curry and David Orentlicher have. I have sat down with both of those candidates to talk about their respective candidacies for Prosecutor. I've never had a sit down one-on-one talk specifically about Prosecutor with Greg. Within the current structure, I think it's fair to say that Bowes may have been outworked.

Besides this "stuffing" phenomenon he advocates against, Bowes mentions in his letter that he was slated in 2003 and 2006, but he was more than just a slated candidate after 2003. He was part of the party establishment as an elected official. That carries a lot of weight! It was Bowes' choice to leave the safety of running for re-election to the Assessor's Office and pursue the Prosecutor's Office, and this slating situation apparently wasn't an issue for him when he was part of a slate before. Might it have been more effective for him to have fought for these changes from within the process?

I'm told that he didn't seem to push anything at the meeting where a new and revised slating agreement was put to a voice vote by elected officials. Bowes sudden change of heart was noticed by one party source that requested anonymity, "(Greg) Bowes has been the repeated beneficiary of this process, and the hard work of the PCs who supported him. Now, when his campaign appears to be floundering, he wants to go outside the process that elected (him) to every office he’s ever held."

As far as the changes in the slating agreement go, the party source told me, "The slating agreement was changed after two meetings with elected officials, the second of which had an overwhelming vote of the 60 plus officials there. Mr. Bowes was a 'no'...by my estimate of the voice vote it was better than 50-10 in favor."

The new slating agreement that apparently is drawing Bowes' ire is one that puts teeth in punishing those that run against the slate or elected officials that support candidates that aren't slated. Why change the agreement? Again, the source from the party said, "The agreement was changed to reflect traditional processes and to move beyond the divisive primary in 2008 in which elected officials (including Mr. Bowes) 'got off the reservation' and worked actively against the slated Congressman Andre Carson."

That's neither here nor there, slating is not perfect by any means, but, honestly, neither are elections. There's simply no such thing as a perfect election. You just make the best effort to get it right, and I think most times the slating process does. With some exceptions, the process has worked pretty well in more recent years.

Bowes points out a number of elected officials, current and former, that have run against the slate. To that, the party source said, "When people cite prominent African-Americans running against the slate, they are harkening back to a time in the party when slating was controlled by the whites and the primary by the blacks. This was true to some degree up until the mid to late 90's. Party leadership then determined to work on candidate recruitment to appropriately balance the ticket and 'get it right the first time.'"

All of this aside, Greg Bowes might be a great candidate for Prosecutor, but he's, in my estimation, not the best candidate for Prosecutor. In my view, he's been running for Prosecutor as the Marion County Assessor, and I just don't think it's a good idea to be the tax man running for anything except the tax man. I know he's been a great attorney, but I spent months attending the same functions as Greg and only recently have I heard him mention specifics about this resume item. Instead, Greg has given timely updates from his work as Assessor telling us to make sure to check our mailboxes for property tax bills. At one point, I had even forgotten he had been a Deputy Prosecutor because he rarely mentions it. The strategy has been flawed, and that's showing in where the money and support is heading in the campaign.

Marion County is the only county in the state that slates though my source points out that Lake and Howard Counties are considering it. The Marion County Republicans slate, and there have been shenanigans charges on that side of the aisle, too. Politics is a high stakes game. With a county party as large and complex as this one is, slating seems reasonable. It's the process we have right now to select candidates from within the party. If you don't like it, you can try to go outside of it. That's what Bowes plans to do. Buck the party process and head to the primary. PCs and Vice PCs carry weight outside the slating process. It's the loyal party voters that by and large come out for the primary. Many times it's those that pay attention to...the SLATE!

So, back to good ole George from Hoosiers. Greg Bowes has barked at the moon, and he has brought the fight right into Ed Treacy's living room. Now Treacy is "kinda forced to deal with" the situation. In that case, Bowes has has chosen to fight this type of battle on this battlefield. If this slating fight is truly his battle, then my hat's off to him. I wish him well, but I think he's going to lose and lose big in the end. He's playing this incredibly risky poker game with one of the most powerful Democrats in the state.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prosecutorial Pile-up: Bowes To Detour Around Slating-Part 1 of 2


As we begin this two part series on Greg Bowes decision to detour around the established slating process and "go rogue" on the Marion County Democratic Party, I'm reminded of Coach Norm Dale's first run-in with George in the movie Hoosiers. I don't think this quote in the context of the movie fits here, but I do think that, minus that context, the quote fits the situation.

"Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with."


Am I saying that Greg Bowes is dumb? Absolutely not. Greg's a friend of mine, and I hope that after this blog post he still will be a friend of mine. If not...well...I can take it. Greg's very intelligent, and he's betting that there will be a groundswell of support for what he's proposing. I just don't know if I see that happening. What's he proposing? Oh yeah...on to the debate!

Greg Bowes wants to be the next Prosecuting Attorney of Marion County. There are two other candidates that also wish to be your next Prosecutor: David Orentlicher and Terry Curry. Those two candidates have consistently said that they would abide by the Marion County Democratic Party Candidate slating agreement, pay the slating fee, and go through the process. Bowes has been non-committal and, in an e-mail sent to me the other day, he confirmed that he will not be going through slating. He also attached the copy of the letter he sent to elected Precinct Committeepersons, the Marion County Democratic Central Committee, Chairman Ed Treacy, Democratic elected officials in the county, and his two competitors for the Prosecutor's job.

In the letter, Bowes details his impressive credentials for the Prosecutor's job. He touts his list of accomplishments as Marion County Assessor and City-County Councillor as well as his long history of helping clients win cases. He also talks about his time as a Deputy Prosecutor under the last Democrat to serve in the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, Jeff Modisett. That takes about a half page.

The rest of the three plus pages is an explanation of the slating process and why he will not be going through that process. If you have a few minutes, please read what Bowes has to say. The letter picks up quoting from the document at the bottom of the first page after Bowes has stated his qualifications.

The Slating Convention
The Marion County Democratic Party (MCDP) has traditionally held a slating convention in advance of the primary election for the purpose of selecting those candidates the MCDP wishes to endorse. The endorsement was given to only one candidate for each office. Candidates seeking the endorsement were asked to pay a slating fee equal to 10% of the salary of the office they seek. That money was used to pay MCDP staff and to fund printing of literature used in the primary and general elections to support the endorsed candidates.

The idea behind slating is to give precinct committeepersons (PCs) and vice precinct committeepersons (VPCs) the opportunity to select the best Democrats to serve. PCs and VPCs, who are the people most in touch with the voters in their neighborhoods, have the best idea of who the voters would want to elect. PCs and VPCs, the ground troops in the election process, having voted for the best candidate, would then join behind that candidate and help ensure he or she is elected.

The Role of the County Chair
One might think that our party respects the wishes of the PCs and VPCs. You do the hard work of registering voters, filling precinct election boards, and promoting Democratic candidates and should have the most say about who we endorse. In fact, the Indiana Democratic Party rules give the power over all county party issues directly to the PCs and VPCs. Those rules are available at http://www.indems.org/page/‐/IDP%20Rules%20revised%203‐23‐09.pdf. One might also think that the MCDP county chair might want to wait until PCs and VPCs have made their decision before he takes any action in support of one candidate or another.

The county chair, however, has the power to ignore the will of the PCs and VPCs. He can fill PC and VPC positions that are vacant. While this power is authorized by state party rules, and is necessary when a PC or VPC resigns, dies, or moves out of the precinct, it is a power that might be used to subvert a fair slating process. The state party rules also allow the county chair to remove appointed PCs and VPCs at any time for any reason or no reason at all. In fact, the current county chair and his predecessor have removed all appointed PCs and VPCs at times to purge the ranks and replace those positions with people more likely to follow the wishes of the county chair.

In 2006, Marion County Democrats elected only 260 PCs. The county chair has the power to fill the remaining 920 PC and VPC positions, and can require those who are appointed to endorse only those candidates the county chair has pre‐selected. Many times, vacancies are filled with people who are asked only to attend the slating convention, and who have no intention of helping the party on Election Day. All PCs and VPCs, who work diligently year after year to register voters, fill precinct election boards, and work hard to elect good Democrats, should be concerned that the county chair is diluting their vote by abusing his power to fill vacancies. The

Role of the PC and VPC
State party rules say that a county party consists of its PCs and VPCs. Those rules allow the PCs and VPCs to establish the rules of the county party, so long as those rules do not conflict with state or national party rules. This means the PCs and VPCs have the power to decide whether and how the county party will endorse candidates. The county chair and the county central committee have no power over this process, unless the PCs and VPCs give that power to them.

This permission usually takes the form of a voice vote at the beginning of the slating convention. The parliamentarian will state that the rules have been established, and ask for a voice vote to adopt them. The problem is that those rules have never been reduced to writing and circulated to the PCs and VPCs before they vote on them. At a recent meeting with the county chair presiding, I asked if those rules would be made available, and was told they would not.

As a PC, you have the right not only to see what the rules are before you vote on them, but to create those rules yourselves. I ask you to challenge this process for the good of our party. Please help establish rules that ensure fairness, transparency and accountability in our party’s processes.

The Proposed Slating Process is neither Representative nor Democratic
Only the 260 elected PCs and the VPCs selected by the PCs must live in the precinct they serve. They cast slating votes that truly represent the neighborhoods they serve. State party rules allow the county chair to fill vacancy with people who do not live in the precinct. If the appointments are filled by people from other parts of town, those precincts are not truly represented.

As many as 920 PCs and VPCs could be controlled by the county chair. By allowing this process to continue, we effectively allow one person’s vote to be more powerful than 260 votes. This is not democratic.

All of you, who represent your precincts well, and who have worked so hard to support our party over the years, should be offended at any attempt to take away your voice on important party decisions.

The Proposed Slating Agreement Is Not Fair to any Candidate
As an elected official, I was given a copy of the proposed slating agreement. The basic agreement is to pay 10% of the elected official’s annual salary for the right to be considered for endorsement. The Central Committee would then give the candidate a list of the elected and appointed PCs and VPCs, and elected Democrats from Marion County. The MCDP makes no other promise.

The candidate, however, must promise to abide by the decision at the slating convention and not run against the endorsed candidate, no matter how unfair the process might have been, and no matter how little it reflects the will of Democratic primary voters. The candidate must agree to abide by the rules of the slating convention, but he has no opportunity to see those rules, either in advance of making payment, or at any time.

The slating endorsement implies the MCDP would support the candidate, but the nature of that support is never spelled out. There is an example of how this might be a really bad bargain. Suppose there are several contested races, either in the primary or the general election. The Central Committee has the sole discretion to devote its scarce resources to only one of those contested races. For example, it could be more concerned about state legislative races than any county race. Because none of this is spelled out in the agreement, the candidate seeking endorsement may pay a great deal of money, and get nothing in return.

I Will Not Sign the Proposed Slating Agreement

This agreement is not fair. I will not sign it, even if that means I am prohibited from asking for your support in the slating convention.

Many respected local Democrats have run against the slate. They include Julia Carson, Rozelle Boyd, Bill Crawford, and Billie Breaux. I suspect one of the reasons they chose to go against the slate was the unfairness of the process. I will not agree to abide by the results of the slating convention until I know the process has been fair.

Some might ask why I have participated in slating in the past. In 2003, I was endorsed as a candidate for City‐County Council. In 2006, I was endorsed as a candidate for Marion County Assessor. In 2003, I was willing to take any chance to become a public servant. 2006 was much different.

In 2005, I let party leaders know I wanted to be a candidate for Marion County Prosecutor. I met with Melina Kennedy and discussed her wish to be the candidate. She convinced me that she would have a better opportunity than I would to beat Carl Brizzi, so I offered her my full support. After that, I expected to serve out the rest of my Council term, and just help other Democrats win in 2006, especially Melina.

After that decision, party leaders approached me and asked me to run for County Assessor. My initial reaction was a definite “no.” I enjoyed my work on the Council, and I had a thriving law practice. I knew there were other possible candidates with more assessor experience, such as Joe O’Connor, and I said so. It was only after a special request from Bart Peterson that I agreed to serve my party and my community by running for that position.

The Central Committee Should Stay Neutral until after Slating
The slating convention should be an accurate prediction of who is the strongest candidate to represent the party. The best way to predict that strength is to rely on the PCs and VPCs who have worked hard to get to know their neighbors. When the county chair is allowed to stack the slating convention, we lose confidence that we are endorsing the best candidate.

The slating convention also serves to motivate party workers to rally around the endorsed candidate and provide the effort needed to elect that candidate in May and November. If PC and VPC vacancies are filled only for the purpose of supporting the candidate pre‐selected by the county chair, and there is no expectation that those appointed PCs and VPCs do the hard work on Election Day, we cannot expect the slated candidate to be strong enough to win.

The Central Committee and the county chair should remain neutral until after the slating convention. Their influence does not always represent the wishes of all Democrats voting in the primary. Simply put, if a candidate cannot win the slating convention without improper influence from the Central Committee, without having the county chair appoint only favorable people in the vacancies, and without showing everyone the fairness of the rules of the slating convention, how strong is that candidate?

There are Better Ways to Endorse Candidates
One alternative to the current slating process is to have no slating convention. In many states and many counties, the local Democratic parties do not endorse candidates before the primary election. This leaves the choice with all Democratic primary voters, rather than just with a few. The only possible drawback of this choice is that the money and time spent fighting among Democratic candidates is drawn away from the effort to win in the November election. Some people, however, believe a good primary fight makes the winning candidate stronger for the general election.

Another option would be to allow the slating convention to endorse more than one candidate for any single position. For example, although only one Prosecutor can be elected in November, the slating convention could endorse all qualified candidates, and exclude only the least acceptable, much like the bar associations do for judicial candidates. This option would recognize that there can be equally qualified candidates, any of whom would serve the community well. It would also increase the amount of money the county party would be able to retain from the slating fees, and that money could be used to support the eventual nominee in the general election.

The last option I will suggest is to ensure that any slating process is fair, transparent and accountable. This process should at least be based on the wishes of the PCs and VPCs, rather than just on the whims of the county chair. The rules should be voted on in advance of the slating convention after the proposed rules have been written down and circulated to those voting on them.

This process should include a restriction on the county chair’s ability to influence the slating process through abuse of his power to fill vacancies. That can be done by requiring him to appoint only those who live in the precinct, and to require gender diversity between PCs and VPCs. It can also be done by allowing meaningful oversight of the appointment process by candidates.

Please Demand a Fair, Transparent, and Accountable Slating Process
The current slating process is not fair. It is not democratic. It does not give our party the best chance to elect the strongest candidates. You, as a PC, have the power to change the process, because all local party rules come from you. I ask you to demand that our party live by the values it professes. I ask you to consider the alternatives I have suggested that make this process fair. Please let the county chair and the Central Committee know that you do not approve of an unfair slating process. Do this even if you do not support me as a candidate for Prosecutor. A better process makes our party stronger.

Please Support Greg Bowes for Marion County Prosecutor
I ask for your support to be the next Marion County Prosecutor. I ask for your support even if I am not the slated candidate. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me...Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Sincerely,
Greg Bowes
Elected Precinct Committeeperson, Pike 39


He had a lot to say! Some of it is no doubt interesting and it's almost all controversial. Too much to analyze in this one measly blog post. Analysis and reaction from the Marion County Democratic Party tomorrow on Indy Democrat. Hey...it's sweeps month!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kennedy Lines Up Another Union Endorsement


Last week, former Indiana and Marion County Democratic Party Chair Kip Tew endorsed Melina Kennedy. The hits keep on coming!

The International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 18 has endorsed Kennedy's candidacy for Mayor of Indianapolis. "As a Deputy Mayor, Melina was a proven job-creator," Scott Collier, Insulators Business Manager, said in a Kennedy campaign news release. "And as a proven job-creator, as somebody passionate about Indianapolis’ future and as somebody who has a vision that gets this city moving again, Melina’s leadership will mean a better tomorrow for Indianapolis," Collier added.

In late September, Kennedy lined up the endorsement of LIUNA, a construction-oriented union.

IPOPA Dramedy On Ballard Hits Mark; Coming Tomorrow on the Blog


Chris Worden, the man behind the curtain over at the Indy's Painfully Objective Political Analysis Blog, writes this hillarious "dramedy in one scene" about Mayor Greg Ballard and his administration. This is great blogpostery. Is that even a word?

If you are so inclined, read it here.

Coming up on Tuesday:
If you are a Precinct Committeeperson, Vice PC, Ward Chair, or Vice Ward Chair, you have a vote at the Marion County Democratic Party Slating Convention. Earlier this year, the Marion County Democratic Central Committee passed a new slating agreement for candidates that has caused a fair bit of discussion behind the scenes.

Many of you may have received a letter from Prosecutorial candidate Greg Bowes. I did not receive the letter, but Bowes e-mailed me a copy because of some of the material addressed in previous blog posts. I had suggested that Bowes would be "going rogue" and bypassing the slating convention to run against the party choice of either Terry Curry or David Orentlicher. Essentially, he admits that he will, in fact, not be going through slating and instead be taking his case to the voters at the Primary Election.

Tomorrow, I will try to tackle this issue and see if Bowes' argument holds any water across the county. It may take a couple of blog posts to do it, but it's something that's out there in the ether and there are some important developments to talk about.

So, a look at slating...tomorrow on Indy Democrat (play outro music).

Now I feel like a talk show host.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Local Pub Bans Mansfield According to Abdul


On his Indiana Barrister blog, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz writes:

"City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield, co-author of the current smoking ban proposal, has reportedly been banned from the Living Room Lounge at 9th and Penn. Mansfield has cited the Living Room Lounge as a place where she loves the food, but doesn’t like the secondhand smoke. Well apparently the owner has told the staff she won’t have to worry about the smoke, because she’s no longer welcome and has ordered the staff not to serve her."


Councillor Mansfield and Councillor Benjamin Hunter are co-sponsors of the proposal that Mayor Ballard promises to veto if it passes the full Council tomorrow night. Apparently, some bar owners have taken the issue to a completely different level here...denial of service to a City-County Councillor because of what she advocates.

Since I also advocate the same position, I will not be a patron of the Living Room Lounge until they lift the ban on Councillor Mansfield. I invite all good Democrats, supporters of Councillor Mansfield, and people that just disagree with this sort of thing to join me in not giving this bar our business. The owner of the Living Room Lounge has a right, I guess, to choose this sort of action, but choices have consequences. No money from me.

UPDATE
Councillor Mansfield sent me an e-mail today saying that due to an emergency she had not been able to send me a message on the subject, but she says that the Living Room never banned her at all and that the owner, Tammy Jones, said that she never had never instructed her staff not to serve Mansfield. "She said although we disagree on the smoking issue, she would never be so petty," said Mansfield.

Looks like Abdul was completely off in his rumormongering. He rumored that Beth White was running for Prosecutor, too. That one didn't pan out, either.

I would like to issue a full and complete apology to Tammy Jones and the staff of the Living Room Lounge for criticizing them for something they did not do. I completely retract my previous post and have pasted this post as an update into the original post.

Thank you also to Councillor Mansfield for setting the record straight. Abdul...what's up buddy? My rumors are usually at least grounded in fact.

Sarah Palin...A Look Back

Sarah Palin's big media blitz begins this week with an appearance on Oprah Winfrey tomorrow. Let's take a look back from the "YouTubes" on the highlights...or lowlights...of Sarah Palin on the interview circuit during last year's run for the White House. As TPM points out, "Oh, the horror!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ballard to Capitalize on Mice Problem at Lucas Oil Stadium


In a hastily-called News Conference Friday, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard put forth a new plan to help pay for the day-to-day operation of Lucas Oil Stadium.

"We have decided to take advantage of the recent revelations that mice have infested Lucas Oil Stadium and have decided to charge each mouse a $25 a week infestation fee," said Ballard. Ballard said the new policy will bring in millions in revenue for the cash-strapped Capital Improvement Board.

Reached for comment, President Binky of the Mice of Lucas Oil Stadium said angrily, "SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAKEY SQUEAKETY SQUEAK. SQUEAL SQUEAL SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK." A mouse translator revealed that Binky said that Mayor Ballard failed to contact the mice organization before deciding to levy the fee. Binky added that many mice are being forced now to move out of the stadium due to the traps and the fee, which he calls exhorbitant. He also added that it's impossible for mice to pay the fee because, "SQUEAKETY SQUEAK SQUEAKETY SQUEEEAK! (We don't carry money!)"

When asked if he had concerns about the patrons of the stadium getting sick, Ballard said that he was not aware of the situation that mice caused disease "until right now when you told me. It's news to me."

Marion County GOP Chair Tom John immediately praised Ballard's decision. "This is the kind of leadership that Mayor Ballard has provided since he became Mayor. He is a problem solver and has shown the ability to solve complex issues like this one. In fact, I was in his office when he completed a 25-piece puzzle the other day."

For his part, Ballard was humble. "Hey...when life throws you tomatoes, you have to make lemonade," said the Mayor.

(Editor's Note: A little Saturday fun for you. Hope you enjoyed it.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ballard Tells Channel 13 He Will Veto Current Smoking Ban Proposal


Mayor Greg Ballard showed a rare bit of leadership yesterday morning as he was interviewed by WTHR Channel 13's Bruce Kopp. For the first time in public, Mayor Ballard said loud and clear that he will veto the current public smoking ban being considered by the City-County Council. This is a change of position from his campaign in 2007 when he promised to support a comprehensive smoking ban in workplaces. Channel 13's Mary Milz does an excellent report on Mayor Ballard's flip flop. It must have been a leftover from his luau.

Ballard is threatening to do something that Indianapolis Mayors rarely do...veto a ordinance passed by the City-County Council. According to WTHR, Bart Peterson used his veto power just once, and that was to veto the redistricting plan put forth by the Republican-led City-County Council following the 2000 census. Like President Bush, who first used his veto power to kill a bill aimed at covering children with health insurance, Ballard is picking the wrong issue to oppose.

Mr. Mayor was caught with his metaphorical pants down when fellow blogger Terry Burns broke the news on his Indianapolis Times Blog that Mayor Ballard met with the Republican caucus and urged them to vote against the ordinance the first time around. Now, he's clearly trying to send a shot across his own caucuses' bow by saying that no matter what they do when the ordinance is heard again he will veto the proposal if it passes.

All of this comes as he tries to hold his own caucus together. The balance of power hangs perilously on the Republican side of the Council aisle by a 15-13-1 margin. Councillor Benjamin Hunter, a Republican, is a co-sponsor of the proposal with Democrat Angela Mansfield. Hunter was very disappointed following his party's cold shoulder towards something that polls have shown the public supports when the proposal was tabled the first time around last month. Other bloggers have surmised that Hunter's anger may result in him switching parties to Libertarian or, more likely, Democrat. That would potentially throw the City-County Council into chaos with a 14-14-1 makeup. Mansfield says that Mayor Ballard has repeatedly refused to meet with the sponsors of the ban.

Also added into all of this is that the Libertarian Party is in the tank big time with the anti-smoke free crowd. To be fair, Chris Spangle, the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, denies that his party has done any more than just build a website for the group called Save Indianapolis Bars. This denial comes despite that the URL saveindianapolisbars.com links directly to the Libertarian Party of Marion County website. Spangle also says the Libertarians have nothing to do with the ads that have been running on local radio stations on the issue...yet the ads are displayed prominently on the party's website under the heading "Listen to our commercial."

Rarely have the Mayor and some of his City-County Council caucus been on different pages as much as they are here. It's definitely a black eye for the Marion County Republican Party and their highest elected city/county official, Greg Ballard.

Could it be that we had not had enough of experience? This brand of leadership just plain stinks!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Steve Buyer Frontier Foundation Story Hits CBS News

It took about a month to percolate, but the Steve Buyer/Frontier Foundation controversy has finally hit primetime television news. CBS Evening News with Katie Couric did an entire story on the controversy.

The story:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

The entire CBS Interview:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

If you see any grammatical errors, I was so focused on putting this up on my blog, that I just forgot about appearances. Hey...it works for Steve!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sad Old Owen G. Bush Stadium Could Lead Redevelopment for Near Westside


Old Bush Stadium sits empty except for a few "Cash for Clunkers" clunkers.

As the Indianapolis Star reported yesterday morning, a salvage company is paying the city $2000 a month to rent the former home of the Indianapolis Indians to store old cars and trucks traded in under the federal government's successful program. I guess the city should be credited for getting something out of the old girl. Still, the aging stadium is still structurally sound and could be utilized for something really really good.

Many people know the story of Bush Stadium, but I'm sure some have forgotten. Built in 1931, Perry Stadium, as it was then known, was the home of the Indianapolis Indians from its opening to its closing in 1996. It was known as Victory Field after World War II and was renamed Owen G. "Donnie" Bush Stadium in 1967 when it was sold to the City of Indianapolis. Not only did the Indianapolis Indians play in its ivy-walled confines, but the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns played there, too.

Instead of watching the place continue to decay, maybe Indianapolis can offer up the facility for something good. I propose that the stadium could perhaps be converted into a museum celebrating the African-American in baseball from before Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier until today.

Now, I know that Cooperstown has the Baseball Hall of Fame and that Kansas City has the Negro League Hall of Fame, but please hear me out. Maybe I'm off base here...you decide.

According to Major League Baseball, only 10 percent of players were black in 2008. That was actually a rise from the 2007 numbers which showed that only a little over eight percent of the players were black. Simply stated, black youths are not playing baseball any longer in the numbers they did even when I was a kid. It's an extremely troubling issue for a sport that still calls itself "America's Pastime." Besides, baseball now has marketable African-American stars like C.C. Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard. Major League Baseball is trying to promote itself actively to young African-Americans for the good of the game.

Perhaps Bush Stadium is the right place to bring this all to fruit. What if the stadium is sold to Major League Baseball or to a private non-profit organization that will raise funds to convert the stadium back to its 1940's appearance? After that, youths and parents from all over the country could be invited in to enjoy the beautiful venue and watch baseball teams of all levels play on the field. The museum celebrating blacks in baseball could be the hook with everything dedicated to the purpose of trying to reintroduce baseball to black youths and celebrating the contribution of blacks to America's Pastime.

Whatever happens to the stadium, it deserves better than this. It has served this city and its baseball fans proudly for decades and is on the United States Register of Historic Places. Maybe the place needs an advocate in city government rather than one that just rents it off as a salvage yard and is happy with the rather smallish $2K a month in rent.

I fear we're going to lose the stadium, and, honestly, I don't think that would necessarily a bad thing if it continues to sit. If something isn't done to redevelop the place, I say it should be torn down so that it doesn't suffer anymore. It would be a sad end to an historic stadium, but it would be putting the place out of its misery. Nonetheless, I think the city is missing a big opportunity with such great events like Black Expo and the Circle City Classic to make old Bush Stadium a grand destination again. I think that folks would be all over this type of proposal ready to write checks to help. It can happen. What do you think?

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